I want to talk to you about arbitration of your workers compensation case. This applies whether you’ve got another lawyer or whether you’re pursuing your case on your own.  As workers compensation attorneys in Belleville, IL, we understand that our clients want to understand how their case will be resolved.

There are two ways a workers compensation case can be resolved: one is by settlement and one is by arbitration.

Settlement is when everyone involved agrees to the amount of money or percent of loss of use as it may be. The other method by arbitration. Arbitration in a workers compensation setting is a trial but instead of being at the courthouse and in front of a judge or jury, these arbitration hearings are held at different locations throughout the state and the arbitrator is like a judge.  She hears the evidence and makes the decision.

But here’s what I want to explain to you. I want you and my clients to understand how this process works. The process I speak of is different than what it used to be after Covid-19. Now if your case is on a workers compensation docket and you set it for hearing on all issues, your case will appear on, let’s say for example the Collinsville docket on a particular day.

On that day, your lawyer or you if you’re representing yourself will attend a docket call on Zoom by teleconference on your computer or by telephone whichever the case may be.  At that point your lawyer announces that your case will be set for hearing and that they need a pre-trial date and hopefully a trial date. 

On that particular day, if you’re pro se (representing yourself), you call in or get on the the docket call.  You can get the information from the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission website, and when your case is announced you ask the arbitrator for a pre-trial date. Every case now has to have a pre-trial date so that the arbitrator can talk about the issues of the case.

Once your case is set for arbitration, you go to the docket and tell the arbitrator you want a pre-trial date. He will assign a pre-trial date for the following week.

You don’t have to be present if you have a lawyer and then you don’t have to be present at the pre-trial if you have a lawyer.

At the pre-trial date the arbitrators will give us a trial date. The trial date isn’t until the following month and it may be three weeks down the road or it may be four weeks down the road.  The arbitrator puts us on a list of cases that will actually go to arbitration if they’re not resolved.

We’ll discuss the actual arbitration in a moment, but first I want to explain what happens at a pre-trial conference. The pre-trial conference is when your lawyer will get together by telephone conference with the arbitrator. They will discuss the issues in the case and the issues may be whether you had an accident at work, whether it’s a compensable claim or it may be as simple as how much of a percentage of loss of use you’re entitled to based on the injury you have and the continued complaints and problems.

The arbitrator then typically makes a recommendation on what she thinks the outcome would be if she were to hear all of the evidence. The pre-trial conferences are generally a pretty good indicator or how the issues will be resolved in part because the arbitrator who’s hearing the pretrial is the same one who would be hearing the evidence at the trial. So if the lawyers have given correct summaries of the evidence you can pretty much bet that the arbitrator is going to be pretty close after arbitration to what she said in the pre-trial conference.

But suppose that the pre-trial doesn’t work. Suppose the parties still can’t come to an agreement and they have to go to arbitration. Clients tend to get nervous when I mention the word “arbitration,” but this is really not a big deal or anything to necessarily worry about. This is, after all, why you’ve hired an attorney.

By the time you get to arbitration your attorney will have your medical records prepared and marked as exhibits. If your attorney has taken the testimony of your doctors, at arbitration he or she will have that prepared. In other words you and your attorney will have all of your exhibits ready and then your attorney will call you to testify.

You will testify about everything from what happened to you, what doctors you saw and what kind of treatment you received.  Most importantly, you will explain what kind of ongoing problems you continue to have, because that’s what the arbitrator uses to base their decision upon.

It’s a very simple process. There’s no jury and no judge it is nothing for a client to be worried about, assuming that they have thoroughly prepared and gotten to the point of arbitration. Most people testify much better than what they expect to. 

To summarize, whether you’re represented by an attorney or not, it’s the same process: you file your petition for hearing, you show up

on the docket day by teleconference, the arbitrator gives you a pre-trial date, and then if your case is not resolved and you’re fortunate enough to make the trial list then you will go to arbitration the following month.

If you have any questions on this or need representation on your workers compensation case give me a call at: 618-239-6070

Thank You for Visiting The Kirkpatrick Law Offices Website.

We understand that being injured at work or due to someone else’s actions creates exceptionally difficult circumstances for you. The impact of being hurt, out of work, unable to provide in so many ways for yourself and your family puts you in an extremely vulnerable position. We look forward to learning more about your particular circumstances and to lending our expertise to your case in aggressively pursuing a favorable outcome. We specialize in a variety of practice areas making it easy to receive the guidance you deserve.

Use the form on this page to contact The Kirkpatrick Law Offices. You may also call us at: (618) 239-6070